The annual National Respect Life Program begins with Respect Life Sunday which begins on October 7, 2012. The theme for this year’s Respect Life Sunday is “Faith opens our eyes to Human Life in all its Grandeur and Beauty.”
Foreseeing that the weakening of committed love puts innocent life at risk, 40 years ago the Catholic Bishops of the United States designated October as Respect Life Month, and named the first Sunday of October as Respect Life Sunday. In October Catholics are asked to reflect in a special way the beautiful gift of human life, and how we can protect all persons from conception to natural death. And we are called to the true meaning of love – love that only seeks the good in others despite the personal cost.
Beginning with Respect Life Sunday, and throughout the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI which begins on October 11, 2012, we all should resolve to pray, study and reflect on the wise teachings of our Catholic Church on human life and the gift of married love so that we can become modern day apostles, capable of transforming American culture and building a civilization of life, love and hope.
In 2013 our country will observe a shameful anniversary, marking 40 years of a “culture of death” that began when the U. S. Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, struck down all state laws restricting abortion. Since the advent of “legalized” abortion, over 53 million children have been destroyed, and their parents and family members have been forever, unalterably changed. This terrible decision from the highest court in our land eroded respect for human life and led to a growing acceptance of death as the “solution” to personal and societal problems. Now euthanasia and assisted suicide are promoted as answers to declining health and disability. Human embryonic stem cell research is championed as a means to cure disease.
We all need to take part in Respect Life Sunday and Respect Life Month, and we need to open our lives to the God-given dignity, beauty and splendor of human life. We need to heed Pope Benedict’s request during the Year of Faith to follow a path of penance, renewal and authentic conversion and witness to charity so that the Church - we - might be the visible community of God’s light, truth and mercy.